Job hunting? Take a close look at your Facebook page

Employers using social media to help find job candidates (or job seekers using it to search for open positions) is all the rage these days. But with this rising use of social media, you need to be aware that, like it or not, employers and potential employers can find out a lot more about you than they could in the past. Even if your privacy settings are super-high, it's always possible one of those "friends" will rat you out.

So, every once in a while, you might want to run a check on your Facebook (FB) account to see if you have anything "suspect" on your page -- something that might cause a boss or potential boss to think poorly of you.

And what is suspect? Well, that's hard to tell. Some bosses are going to be offended by a lot of religious discussion. Some bosses will be put off by pictures of you (legally, let's assume) drinking alcohol. All should be concerned about violent or illegal activities detailed on your Facebook page. And foul language? Use it at your own risk.

Lior Tal, co-founder of RepNup, a firm that will run a free check of your Facebook page, shared a few examples of what has popped up when people have gotten a review:

I'm glad people have liked my recent blog post because the stats aren't updating -- I thought my drug dealer joke had fallen very flat!

[Badwords] are talking [badword] on Margaret Atwood in the AV Club's review of MaddAddam. I AM NOT HAVING IT.

I want to punch the dude that wrote this in the [crude body part reference].

I'm still thinking about the menu, but I only have 1 bottle of Andre and a bunch of vodka as far as drinks go.

It blows my mind that some [badword] ole schools think spelling isn't an important skill.

Some of this is offensive, and some of it is just Too Much Information. The drug dealer joke was probably just that. Most managers can recognize a joke, but joke about illegal activities at your own risk. And no one really cares what you think about Margaret Atwood, but they do care if you use excessively bad language to describe your feelings. And TMI is, well, TMI. And even though drinking is legal for the over-21 crowd, too much information about your drinking can make people a little worried.

I ran a check on my own Facebook account, and the things RepNup found as suspect didn't bother me at all. For instance, posts with phrases such as "murdered someone with my bare hands" and "ugly American" got tagged.

In the first case, it was a story about how my 4-year-old had given me a manicure with red nail polish and the results looked like, well, I'd murdered someone with my bare hands. And the "ugly American" post was about a situation where an American tourist was so incredibly rude to a hotel clerk, that the clerk ended up apologizing to us for having to view such a scene and gave us a discount on our bill.

Reviewing your account on Facebook -- or Twitter (TWTR) or Vine or any other number of social media outlets -- is worth your time if you're in the job market. But don't believe that the result of any check will give you a complete overview of potential problems.

For instance, as long as you don't use threats or bad language, a computer check won't figure out that you're constantly complaining about your boss -- but your co-workers will, and if you're friends with them (or you have mutual friends, or your security settings aren't good), your boss can find out. She won't be amused, even if you used polite language to describe how terrible she is.

Remember, everything that's posted on the Internet is public, even if you don't intend for it to be. As long as one other person can find it, it can go viral. When you're job-hunting, it's best to make sure things are nice and clean before you start sending out those resumes.


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